Sling TV Review: Video Quality
Sling TV doesn’t have detailed information about its streaming resolution, though most of the content I watched looked to be 720p, which is fairly standard among livestreaming services. Only Fubo YouTube TV offers some channels at 1080p Fubo also offers limited events and some on-demand content in 4K.
Programs achieved HD resolution almost instantly or within 2-3 seconds and held steady after stabilizing, both on a fast home connection and slower networks.
Sohow Do I Start Using Sling TV
The cool thing about Sling is they offer a free 3-day trial. They only require an email address and credit card to start the trial and you can cancel at ANY time with no penalty.
So if youre on the fence and not sure if Sling is right for you, the free trial is a great way to test it out.
To get started, you simply create an account and activate your trial membership. Once thats done you just download the Sling App on your specific device and log-in.
The whole process to get started with your trial takes a measly five minutes from start-to- finish.
Cloud Dvr On Sling TV
While searching is somewhat of a headache, Sling TV does offer a cloud DVR service similar to what we’ve seen on PlayStation Vue. The feature, called First Look, allows you to save up to 50 hours of content to your account that you can watch at a later date think on-demand, but you get to pick the shows.
The program costs $5 per month extra, and is currently only available on Roku devices, Roku TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, and Amazon tablets.
Also Check: Sling Prices 2021
Is Sling TV Worth It
On that front, the service is easily worth the $35/month cost of admission. With over 30 channels on its Blue and Orange plans, Sling TV is one of the most economical ways to stream live TV.
When it comes to cheaper live TV streaming options, Philo offers 66 channels for $25 a month $10 less than Sling’s base plans. Though Philo includes more storage and its catalog features some networks missing from Sling, like Animal Planet and MTV, it doesn’t offer any local channels. Philo is also lacking in sports coverage since it doesn’t carry channels like ESPN or NFL Network.
With those factors in mind, we think Sling is the better budget option for most people who want a cheaper alternative to cable. That said, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind when choosing Sling.
Sling TV Plans Prices And Channels
When it comes to streaming options in the United States, Sling TV plans and prices continue to keep it among the top of the best live TV streaming services available. Thats largely because its as close as you can get to true a la carte TV, which theoretically lets you pick and choose your channels. Sling TV isnt quite that its more of a skinny bundle situation. But its still an extremely good value.
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Heres how it works: Sling TV is broken down into two tracks Sling Orange, and Sling Blue. Separately, they cost $35 a month each. Or you can get both for $50 a month. They have their own sets of channels, too. Sling Orange has 32 channels and is more sports-heavy. Sling Blue has 42 channels and is more focused on news and entertainment. The idea is that if you want one track more than the other, you can just get one. But Sling is perfectly happy if you get both. Note that buying both plans together gets you fewer channels than the math would indicate thats because there is some overlap.
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Sling TV Dvr: Recording On Sling TV
With Sling TV, you get up to 50 hours of free cloud storage on the Sling TV DVR. If thats not enough, you can upgrade to 200 hours for $5 per month.
For this review, I recorded and watched a couple of episodes of House Hunters. Those recordings included commercials. Even if I watched them on demand, I still had to watch commercials. While services like Hulu have a little timer in the corner that lets you know how much longer the ads will last, theres nothing like that on Sling TV. That made it harder to figure out if, for instance, I had enough time to run to the kitchen and make a quick snack. I quite liked the cloud DVR on a basic functional level, but the commercial breaks were a pain point.
Whats The Difference Between Sling Orange And Sling Blue
- NFL Network, FS1, NBC Sports, Fox News, MSNBC, USA, and more
- Stream on 3 devices at one time
- $35 per month
Is Sling Orange or Blue Better?
If you cant decide you also have the option to opt for the Sling Orange + Blue package for a discounted $50 per month. Sling Orange + Blue you access to all of Sling TVs available channels, though the limitation on the number of simultaneous devices still applies.
List of Sling Orange Channels
The following 33 channels are included with the Sling Orange package. There are 6 channels exclusive to Sling Orange including the ESPN family of networks and Disney Channel.
- A& E
Note: Sling Blue channels can be streamed on 3 devices at one time.
Sling Orange + Blue Package The Best Of Both
If you cant decide between Sling Orange and Sling Blue, dont worry you also have the option of the Sling Orange Plus Blue package, which gives you access to all channels in both the Orange and Blue packages.
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What Channels Come With Sling TV
Both Orange and Blue come with a base package of the same 27 channels, including CNN, BBC America, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, and many more. In addition to the base package, both plans have their share of unique channels.
Orange has six unique channels including Disney Channel, ESPN networks, FreeForm, and Motortrend. Blue, on the other hand, has 17 unique channels including Discovery, Fox and NBC , NFL Network, USA, and more.
In addition to live TV, Sling comes with an extensive selection of on-demand content from its channel lineup, including titles like “Real Housewives” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Sling also has several genre-based add-ons starting at $6 a month.
Before signing up for Sling, we recommend you check out our full breakdown of all the Sling channels and extra packages available to ensure that your favorite networks are included.
Streaming On Multiple Screens
On the Orange plan, you can only watch on one device. Blue lets you watch on up to three simultaneous devices.
The Orange + Blue combo plan streams on up to four devices. However, multiple devices can only access the channels in the Blue lineup and not the Orange-exclusive networks like ESPN and Disney.
If your entertainment setup is powered by a Playstation, Sling doesnt yet work on the Playstation.
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Sling TV Is A Contender To Replace Cable
Now having tested three of the best cable TV alternatives, we’ve got ourselves a competition. Sling wins on pricing for my particular needs, though time will tell as to if I need ESPN or not. If I decide I want the self-titled World Wide Leader in Sports, the bump to $50 per month for Sling Orange + Blue may be a bit too close to YouTube TV’s rate.
As I mentioned above, YouTube TV’s superior live TV rewinding and fast forwarding, as well as its lower delay against the live feed of cable, make it my favorite if money were no option. However, a year of YouTube TV is $780, which is 85% more than the $420 per year for Sling Blue.
Next up, I’m going to take Philo for a spin, followed by Fubo TV and the newly re-christened DirecTV Stream . Oddly enough, AT& T TV has the best chance of competing with YouTube TV or Sling TV. Even though I’ve been annoyed by the quality of the app over the years, Fubo lacks TNT and Philo has neither TNT nor USA.
Stream Time is where Tom’s Guide senior editor Henry T. Casey dives into the big choices we make about streaming media. We tackle it all, from the best and worst streaming services and devices, to the never-ending list of shows to watch.
Be sure to check out my guides to the best streaming devices
What Is Sling TV
Sling TV is the best budget-friendly live TV streaming service, and it has been for years.
You can get most of your favorite channels for way less than your current cable bill, and Sling lets you watch anywhere on almost any streaming device. But you get what you pay for because you won’t get many DVR storage hours, sports channels, or local channels.
Lets dive in and see if this is the next live TV streaming service for you.
- You have three packages to choose from to find the right fit for your family
- You can get lots of add-ons for customization
- Sling TV doesn’t have the most channels in the industry
- The DVR could be better
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Slings Dvr Storage Space Is Somewhat Average
Earlier this year, Sling TV increased its DVR storage space and increased its monthly price by $5 because of it. We’re here to say it was worth it.
Sling TV used to come with a free 10-hour Cloud DVR storage . Now, Sling TV comes with a 50-hour DVR storage.
If that’s not enough for you and the five family members you live with, Sling TVs Cloud DVR Plus is an extra $5 per month for 200 hours of recording space. Your recordings will save indefinitely, so you wont have to worry about last years recording of 30 for 30 disappearing.
Also, when you hit the record button on a TV show, a pop-up will ask you if you want to record all episodes, only record new episodes, or record this episode only. This saves you the hassle from going through and clicking record on every episode.
But keep in mind: if you go over your 50-hour storage space, it will automatically delete recordings youve already watched and then your oldest recordings.
For some families, 50 hours is enough. This means you can record about 50 TV episodes or 20 movies.
If you want to record TV shows and movies and save them for years so you can watch them whenever you’d like, you might find yourself upgrading to 200 hours of DVR storage space in the long run.
Sling TV Review: Pricing And Availability
Sling TV offers a free, seven-day trial, but there’s a sneaky trick to getting it: You can’t sign up through the web, you have to sign up through a Sling-compatible device . After the trial, Sling offers $10 off the first month for all three of its plans.
The lower tiers, Sling Orange and Blue, are $30 for existing subscribers , but $35 per month for new subscribers. The top-tier plan, Sling Orange & Blue, costs $50 per month for new members and $45 for existing accounts. Pricing for new members rose on .
Current sales include a offer.
If you’re interested in watching live local programming from broadcast networks, Sling Blue and Sling Orange & Blue provide access to NBC and Fox in some markets . If you’re not in one of those markets or you also want ABC and CBS, Sling offers packages that include an HD antenna and AirTV , but they require you prepay for three months of Sling service.
In contrast, YouTube TV costs $64.99 per month for access to up to 70-plus channels. Hulu with Live TV costs $64.99 per month for 85-plus channels. Fubo TV costs $64.99 for 110+ channels. All three services offer local networks in most areas as part of their plans. Sling’s pricing and channel lineup is more similar to Philo, which costs $20 for 59 channels .
As far as availability, Sling TV can be played on many devices, besides its own AirTV Mini:
- Web browsers
- Google Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max
- Oculus Go
- Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X
- Xfinity X1
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How Much Does Sling TV Cost
Sling offers unbeatable pricing, but with that, it doesnt offer the highest number of channels. But we guarantee you won’t be disappointed with Sling’s channel lineup .
You could also just scroll down a little for a sneak peek of the channels.
This live TV streaming service is best for cord cutters, for those who want to save money, or for those who just want a few of their favorite channels.
In comparison to other live TV streaming services in the industry, you’ll see that you can save lots of cash by signing up with Sling TV. But if you want more channels, Sling TV might not be your best bet.
What Channels Come With A Sling TV Package
Were going to need your full attention for a moment, because Sling TVs packages are pretty confusing.
As mentioned earlier in the story, Sling TV has three basic live TV streaming packages: Sling Orange, Sling Blue and Sling Orange + Blue.
Sling Blue and Sling Orange are each $35 per month packages, but they offer different selections of channels.
The line in the sand appears to be the ESPN family of networks. Sling Orange has them, and Sling Blue does not. Since ESPN channels are expensive for the streaming providers, the Orange package has an otherwise stripped-down menu.
Sling Blue doesnt offer ESPN channels, but it offers more channel options for the same price. Instead of ESPN, youre able to get channels such as FOX News, MSNBC, Discovery, Bravo and your local NBC or FOX affiliates.
For an additional $15 per month, you can skip the comparison between Orange and Blue. Sling Orange + Blue is $50 per month and offers all of the channels of both $35 packages.
When looking at the channel menu below, you may notice that only NBC and FOX affiliates are offered with the Blue and Orange + Blue packages. That means youre completely out of luck if you want to watch your local ABC and CBS channels with Sling. If youre looking for access to local channels, we have some ideas that wont break the bank.
- IFC Films Unlimited
What About Local Channels?
As I previously mentioned, only select NBC and FOX affiliates are included with your Sling TV subscription.
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Sling TV Extras And Add Ons
Like many other cable services, Sling TV offers a variety of extras and add-ons that can enhance your viewing experience, especially if there are programs that are more enjoyable when watched live, like sports or the latest Game of Thrones episodes. Sling TV has compiled different add-on packages based on content categories, like News, Comedy or Sports.
If youre looking for sports extras, you can purchase Sling TVs sports add-on package for only $5 per month, which includes an extra 13 sports-specific channels like NBA TV, NHL Network and more.
You can also purchase a variety of premium channels like HBO, Showtime and Cinemax for an extra monthly cost.
Sling TV also offers an extra DVR service that allows you to record your favorite shows when you arent home so you can still enjoy them when you have time. The good thing about Slings DVR is that its all stored in the cloud, meaning you wont have to purchase a special device for storing your recorded shows.
The bad thing is that you can only store 50 hours worth of content before Sling starts automatically deleting old content.
Sling TV Review: Verdict
Sling TV is an attractive option for cord-cutters who want to replace their cable-television package with a live TV streaming service. The low cost of the Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans make them affordable as long as you like their channel lineups. The top-tier Sling Orange & Blue is only slightly more expensive and provides access to most top cable channels, including ESPN.
The flexibility to add a la carte channels and themed extras, as well as premium networks, means Sling users can mix and match to meet their preferences. The biggest downside we encountered during our Sling TV review is the meager DVR storage, which got better in 2021’s update but still pales in comparison to YouTube TV.
But if you want live TV for relatively cheap, Sling TV could be your path to cutting the cord for good.
Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Toms Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When shes not watching TV and movies for work, shes watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.
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Sling TV Review: The Best Budget Live TV Streaming Service
Sling TV Blue offers cord-cutters a wealth of live channels for an affordable price, but you may need to bring your own antenna.
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Live TV streaming services are designed to replace cable TV by letting you stream live channels over the internet. Yet for the budget-conscious TV viewer, not all services are created equal: For instance, YouTube TV offers a lot of channels but it costs twice as much as the cord-cutter-friendly Sling TV. Starting at $35, Sling TV offers an excellent value with plenty of channels on offer, and it finally looks the business with its new coat of paint.
- Solid selection of channels for the price.
- Numerous choices and add-ons
- Optional $99 AirTV 2 tuner for local channels.
- No local channels beyond NBC and Fox in a few cities.
- Package options can be confusing
- Limited DVR
- AirTV channels don’t work on browsers or Apple TV.
Sling TV is different from rivals because it offers two main plans for the same $35 entry price: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. They share many of the same channels but others are exclusive to one or the other. Sling TV Blue is essentially the Fox and NBC option, while Sling Orange is the ESPN and Disney package.